Only two weeks after his death, the city has removed the skate park graffiti mural honouring Jorden Child’s life after initially saying it wouldn’t be immediately erased.
Fellow student Kelsey Munn watched city workers power-wash the mural away yesterday.
“I think he deserves to have his name there because he went there all the time, every day. That’s where he could be free,” she said. “Many people I’ve talked to say they are mad and angry that the city chose to take it away.”
On the morning of Sept. 3, the high school senior was leaving a grad party in the Chilliwack River Valley area when the vehicle he was driving crashed into a tree. Later that night, a vigil for Child was held at the skate park across from Yale Secondary School.
Fellow skater Travis Regnier said an old friend of Child had come from out of town to produce the mural. He said he can’t understand the city’s actions.
“[This is] almost borderline disrespecting Jorden’s memorial and the grieving process of everybody at the skate park,” he said. “It’s really upset a lot of the kids there. A lot of these kids are not even 16 years old.”
After the graffiti murals were created, a spokesperson for the city said they wouldn’t immediately remove the artwork. Yet two days ago, city workers began to wash the graffiti away.
A city notice was left at the park saying the memorials would be removed due to safety concerns but many of Child’s peers don’t accept this reason.
“It’s always been an ongoing struggle to have repairs done to the skate park,” Regnier said. “As soon as it comes to an image thing, it always seems like that’s a top priority versus the actual safety of the park.”
The city issued a statement saying they contracted a cleanup service to dispose of garbage, broken glass and damaged fencing which posed a danger to park users. This service also included removal of the graffiti because it wasn’t contained to the skate park.
“We empathize with the grief that many youth are facing and we support the youth in finding respectful and meaningful outlets at this difficult time,” a city spokesperson said.
“The City has met with, and continues to engage with the youth in the area, other users of the skate park, the neighbouring high school and the young man’s family to coordinate with those who would like to create a lasting memorial.”
Munn said others are also upset that a memorial dedicated to another Abbotsford student who died last week was removed along with the graffiti for Child.